Written by: Emma Wright- News 69 New Jersey
New Jersey lawmakers say they may be voting on legalizing recreational marijuana this month.
During a Facebook live interview, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says he is a step closer to making good on a big campaign promise he made. Murphy says legislative leaders may call for a vote to legalize marijuana as soon as Oct. 29.
Murphy says there will be several pieces to the legalization bill, including expanding medical marijuana coverage and legalizing some recreational use.
“Most importantly this is social justice. We have the largest white/non-white gap of persons incarcerated in America. Low end drug crimes are not the only reason, but it’s a big driving part of the reason. We aren’t inventing marijuana, it exists right now,” Murphy said.
New Jersey Senate President, Steve Sweeney says he wants to add a 12 percent tax to recreational marijuana, but some fellow Democrats say they’d like to see something higher. Many New Jersey Republican lawmakers say they are strongly against legalization.
Assistant Republican Whip Erik Peterson tells 69 News legalizing marijuana is bad policy and says it’s just the governor’s attempt at being hip with young people.
“The real reason they want to legalize marijuana is because it’s going to make some people rich. They don’t give a darn about our kids who are going to be the ones that are going to have their lives impacted the most by this. When you normalize something, especially a drug, what you do is you get more people using it,” Peterson said.
If the marijuana bill passes on Oct. 29, Governor Murphy didn’t say if he will sign it into law that day or soon after.